Let’s be honest – 15 years ago, playing women’s hockey was seen as more of a hobby. Now it has become just as serious as the men’s game. And with that shift, more players, parents and coaches are looking for the fastest possible route to their dreams. Parents send their kids to hockey schools expecting their skating to be 10% faster or their shot to be 25% harder because that’s what the school is selling them on. It’s an effective advertising strategy and, to be honest, kids can make tremendous gains in a short period of time…but does it last?
We are always looking for quick fix results, aren’t we? “Lose 5 pounds in 10 days”, “Read twice as fast in 2 hours”…and many girls hockey players, parents and coaches are no different. We don’t want to wait 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years to reap the rewards of our hard work, do we? We want it all, and we want it now.
Think of it this way – remember back to when you were in high school or college and you had to cram the day before a big test (maybe you even pulled an “all-nighter”). We’ve all left things to the last minute and then made that final big push to get things done. And what was the result after you crammed for the test? If you managed to stay awake and squeezed as much information as possible into your brain in that short amount of time, you probably did pretty well. You got the result you wanted – you passed (or maybe even got an A!).
But what happened 3 days after the test? Did you remember any of it? I’m going to guess that you didn’t. And it didn’t really matter – unless of course you had to know that material for the final exam. Our education system rewards us for these short-term efforts. We do a little bit of hard work and we get a decent result – for a short period of time.
We grew up in this system of short-term effort for short-term gains, and we transfer this idea to our sports system as well.
Can one week of hockey school really make that much a difference in a player’s performance?
You bet it can.
Even though a player may be able to skate a bit faster or shot a bit better after the camp is done, the real changes and lasting results come months later when she continues to apply the concepts she learned at the camp again and again.
I can go do a shooting clinic with Brett Hull – and I am sure my “boomer” will be significantly better after just an hour on the ice with him. But if I don’t practice what he taught me again and again over time, I will lose everything I gained.
The truth is that when girls hockey players are exposed to training & learning opportunities on and off the ice, they are going to see performance based results very very quickly. The younger an athlete is, the more easily they pick up new skills and abilities – just like when you learned algebra in 12 short hours before your final exam.
But true lasting change doesn’t happen unless you are willing to put in the work day after day. If you are training properly on and off the ice, you can become significantly stronger, faster and fitter in 6 short weeks. But you can’t make the Olympic Women’s Hockey team in that short period of time. It takes consistent effort to become great. You’ve got to be willing to do the work in your on-ice and off-ice training.
It’s not nearly as exciting and enticing as the “quick fix” but it’s the truth.
Work Hard. Dream BIG.
~ Coach Kim